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12 YEARS A SLAVE Screenwriter Wrote Script for Free!

Author and screenwriter John Ridley is not new to the Hollywood scene.  His first novel "Stray Dogs" was apated into the movie U-TURN (1997) directed by Oliver Stone. He's been a producer and wrote the successful film RED TAILS (2012) among other accomplishments in television and features.

So would you be surprised if you learned that he wrote the script for 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Solomon Northrup's memoirs of the same name) for free!  "There was no development money whatsoever for this project," he told Press Association. "So I said I'd take it on as a spec project, which means I'll write it for free."

"The upside is I get to own that manuscript; the downside is, for what? This was not Transformers, where you can go to a studio, where they say, 'Great. Let's put some big stars in and go.'

"It was either going to be a script that wowed people and show how powerful that memoir and that story was, and how pertinent it is. That was the difficulty of it. That was something that came to me in a partnership but ultimately it was a choice of four year's work without taking a penny."

Ridley, of course, was eventually paid but that took time. (FYI writers, typically you are not paid in full until production begins on your movie, but more on that later.)

"In the end, it worked out brilliantly," Ridley said and I guess, seeing that he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

To read more... (and source)

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